Readers react to calls for gun control and arming teachers after the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

After shooting, we need to talk about more than just guns

Once again, we have a school shooting, and once again, the outcry for gun control is loud and clear.

They want to have a conversation about guns. Fine, let's have that conversation, but let's not stop at just gun control. Let's put everything on the table, no matter whose toes it steps on or whose feelings it might hurt. Let the chips fall where they will.

Yes, let's lay it all out. Let's talk about some of the movies being put out. Let's talk about a lot of what's on TV and the Web. Let's talk about some of the music being put out. Let's talk about the violent video games on our electronic devices. And yes, let's talk about the many homes where children come home to empty houses.

Mom and Dad, too often, want to maintain a certain lifestyle based not on what they need, but what they want. When you have children, your first obligation is to raise them. You may have to put your life on hold. I know this to be true because I was a single parent for many years.

You ministers out there, are you doing your job? Are you driving home parents' responsibilities, or are you holding back because some people might take themselves and their money to a safer home?

So, you want to have this conversation, or do you just want to sit around talking to your neighbors and yourself?

Let's have this conversation, but everything should be on the table!

Robert Malone, Forest Grove

Open letter to teachers of United States

Your president has made a proposal for improved school safety that requires your cooperation. He wants 20 percent of you to be trained and armed with a gun in your classroom. He does not want anyone to know which teachers are armed, but he wants it well known that 20 percent of you have a concealed gun on your person or readily accessible.

Now visualize this scene: The door of your classroom opens. You see a gun barrel.

Who is the first person the gunman shoots?

Teachers are smart people. You have probably all figured this out for yourselves by now.

Elaine Bohlmeyer, Forest Grove

Arming teachers would not make schools safer

OK, so we are going to arm our teaching staff so there will be more guns in the world. You can almost hear the National Rifle Association's enthusiastic applause.

Has any civilized country ever proposed this as a possibility? No, because it would transform schools from centers of learning into armed camps. Our classrooms are places of educational inquiry lead by teachers who skillfully focus on the social, emotional and educational growth of each of their students.

As a retired educator, having spent more than 40 years in schools, I find this proposal by our president to be utterly ridiculous. He shows he knows nothing about public education in America and has no knowledge of the challenges teachers face daily and the skill they bring to their roles as educational leaders.

In a time when schools are striving to improve the quality of their teaching and the effectiveness of their programs for all students, are we now going to hire staff based on an ability with firearms? Increasing guns in schools does nothing to promote safety; all it does is to financially reward those who sell firearms.

The first step in our journey to being a more civilized country with fewer mass killings is to ban assault weapons. The president needs to resign his job as the No. 1 promoter of the NRA and its agenda and start acting as the leader of this country. That would be a welcome first step to helping us all feel safer.

Edward Bettencourt, Lake Oswego

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